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Spinoza's influence[edit]

Spinoza's influence on superstition is crucial. His works led the way to a negative attitutde towards superstition. There isn't enough coverage on this page about his work and influence. It's only cited once and only about biblical exegesis... I suggest that further paragraphs should be added covering his influence, or at least it should be cited in the history od superstition. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:16, 21 November 2016 (UTC)

Stray Thread[edit]

This is currently a very hard definition. Most of us are influenced by superstition : lucky numbers, favourite items. Superstition is deeply embedded in most cultures : just think of launching ships with bottles of wine, 'touch wood' etc.

Many of those are customs based on superstitions. The people performing the custom might not actually believe in the superstition.

Don't you think superstition is just passing the responsibility on to someone else. Let it be fate, go

While many mentaly retarded activities might have roots in superstition, some of the people who engage in these activities may not necessarily believe in the original superstition. Personally I despise various things for being superstitions, or at least I feel I do -- perhaps this feeling is superstitious.

I don't think the definition at the head of the article adequately -- (talk) 16:45, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Block quote#REDIRECT [[-- (talk) 16:45, 9 December 2009 (UTC)Target page name

Strike-through textStrike-through text]]

of pizza started the universe." How do you know if the universe was "started" or not--you weren't there, or maybe we all were and we've just forgotten, so it frankly IS unknowable at this point in existence if there even was a beginning...or that time really exists. It could all be in our heads as a current perception of 'time'--many cultures have no word for 'time' as they used to operate solely in the present moment, so no thoughts about the past or future. Our thoughts about the past and future are really what create 'time' in our own perception, no? If you don't think about the past and future, time doesn't exist now does it? If everything operates in cycles, then 'time' as a linear concept is just that, a concept that we in the modern age made up to label something.

Plus, using today's scientific physics jargon, if time is 'relative' it could operate into infinity or into nothingness as it is not a constant (people just assume it is as that is what it appears to us standing on Earth travelling in a circle within the universe, within ??) And, who really knows whether 'god' didn't just have a hankering for a slice of pizza and thus created the universe? Maybe you're onto something! ;-)

Scientists today assume they are correct in their theories, just like all scientists in past also did in their day and age. The best assumption we can logically make is to assume that most of what scientists can prove repeatedly is correct in action (eg., law of gravity), but if there are dissenting voices and still people speculating and arguing about HOW it works (eg., law of gravity), then you better not set your mind in stone about 'origins' just yet.Gnatbuzz (talk) 16:59, 18 June 2008 (UTC)



By defining superstition as misplaced religious feeling, the article suggests that there is a rightly placed religious feeling, even going so far as to give a Christian view of superstition. However, a lot of people would regard all religion as superstition. This would seem to be confirmed by the dictionary definition, which says nothing about misplaced attitudes:

1. Unreasoning awe or fear of something unknown, mysterious, or imaginary, esp. in connexion with religion; religious betc. It was edited out, because not well formulated. The external links point to stuff like that, not really explaining the superstition in russia, asia and middle age europe. Superstition could explain christinaity from their viewpoint (at christianity article), it would get removed quickly as NPOV criticism/discussion. I do not know if it links to The Life of Brian, but that's how christian believers might see an interpretation attempt from the sight of superstition. In asia, for instance the concept of godfather is uncommon. It is just true for western people. The article needs explanation, what superstition really is, not criticism/rationalizing and denial of it.

I think the primary difference is that religious belief has a source (e.g. walking under a ladder will cause you misfortune because God hates ladders) while a superstition has no source and is merely traditional paranoid belief (e.g. walking under a ladder is inherently an inexplicably unlucky).

Most religions include supersition, principally in the form of prayers for specified outcomes. But it is possible to be fully committed to and active in a religion without being superstitious at all, especially if one's prayer consists only in praise of God or a type of meditation through repeating familiar words.
The familiar atheist and agnostic view that religion is superstition is essentially a disparagement of religion rather than a description. So I don't agree with Roy Bruback that "a religion, like any thought, is superstitious if and only if it is untrue". Definitions of religion and superstition ought not judge whether the beliefs they include are true or not; rather they should be based on description.
So I would try the following. The primary difference between supersition and religion is that superstitious belief is disorganised and religious belief is systematic. Further, any set of religious beliefs exists within a religion, which is more than mere belief and is a social institution combining belonging, history, architecture and sacred geography, scripture and revered literature, language, prayer, liturgy and shared observance, music, art, organisation and welfare, belief, authority, hierarchy and tradition. There may be fokloric equivalents for supersition but they will not have the same degree of complexity.
Superstition : Religion :: Crime : Mafia ? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:47, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
Well done. Next lesson, we'll try combining some words into sentences. Fuzzypeg 05:12, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Superstition and folklore - strange example[edit]

In the "Superstition and folklore" section their is an odd sentence - can any one explain the meaning or correct the grammar?

"a pregnant female should avoid coming out of door, (i.e., avoid exposing her to the sun) during the time of an eclipse"

If you look at most superstitious actions they have a root in disseminating information in days where education was not widespread. Mainly told too the uneducated and children to prevent them from doing things that may cause physical and finacial damage.-- (talk) 07:20, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

Mirrors used to be very expensive and owned by the wealthy. It would have been easier to create a sense of fear in the slaves cleaning the mirror then to explain the value and fragility of the mirror.

Ladders tend to have people working on them, usually carrying some object. The danger to both the person on the ladder and the person below requires caution. What better way to create caution in uneducated workers then superstition.

Umberellas (both for rain and sun) caused fires in the days of gas lighting. To get the message across, that opening an umberella indoors gives a high chance of starting a fire in days of no/poor fire service, requires superstition.

Bad luck to step on cracks. focuses a child into looking where it puts its feet, good idea in days before good pavements. A broken ankle could take valuble work time thus money from a family.

The Magpie rhyme. Good for the farmers children. As magpies are pests to the farmer what better way to find out how many of the pests are in his field. I wonder how many children rushed back in to tell pops about the magpies in the field.

I could go on, but you see that in days gone by where reading and writing were premium, that the best way to educate against common mistakes was to highlight them with a superstition.

"Asian" needs to be capitalized.

Superstitions by country/region[edit]

Scientists too are superstitious.The very term ‘scientist’ conjures up the image of an individual who would not compromise with his/her rational thinking nor repose faith in systems and beliefs that do not stand scientific scrutiny.

majority of Indian scientists are as pliable as the laymen in matters of religion, beliefs and sentiments.Giving their views on the survey report at a media conference organised by Centre for Inquiry, scientist P. M. Bhargava felt such a dichotomy in the attitude of scientists would not augur well for the country. “Perhaps this is the reason why after C.V. Raman, no single Nobel prize was won by Indian scientists. The scientific outlook should not be confined to the specific field of research but should extend to all spheres of life,” he said. Chandana Chakravarthy, member of the Centre criticised that scientists were bringing their personal belief systems into institutions where they work.

Citing instances of ISRO scientists going to Tirupati to seek divine blessings before launch of satellite missions or those calling on Sri Satya Sai Baba, the CFI chairman N. Innaiah said this was against the spirit of Indian Constitution that emphasised on promotion of scientific temper among people for rooting out superstitions.50 per cent of scientists covered, believed in Homoeopathy, 49 per cent believe in power of prayer.While 16 per cent believe in faith healing, 14 per cent have trust in Vasthu, astrology and 10 per cent in palmistry.For an overwhelming 93 per cent of scientists ‘secularism’ meant tolerance for various religions and philosophies while 83 per cent said it meant separation of religion from State/Government.

Compilation of superstitions[edit]

I do not see this compilation pointless. The article looks very abstract, and contains a few superstitions at best. The explanation is scientific, but IMO wrong. The linked research pages are abstract, and not getting the point. I tried to write about it, but it was edited out. It was not very well written, though.
It is possible to copy my tables (it is PD information). I do not know any good site, which include a compilation of superstition in modern language. Some are good, but very long, and they contain weird superstitions.
The pages now get hits by search engines, i am collecting the terms (which were searched) into a file. There are people searching "european superstition", and around 30 other terms.
The link removal has caused a decline in visitors, around 50 people came from here. Some vandalized my guestbook, but i can not verify where they came from. The same questions arise for Aztec_Calendar. I know the policy on external links.

"The reason for superstition in asian countries: People abide a few abstract rules,
and in the cause of it, they also refrain from other undesireable action
(because this causes bad luck)"

"Among African Americans it is considered unlucky to sweep someone with a broom while cleaning house." Can someone please tell me what this means?

It means that if you are sitting in a chair or standing on the floor, and someone near you is sweeping the floor with a broomcorn broom and they sweep across your feet, it is considered very bad luck. To undo this, the person who has inadvertently swept you might touch, hug, or even kiss you. It's quite a common belief and custom. It is mentioned in the song "The Blues What Am" by Jazz GIllum.

Is it really correct to say that a gambler's luck is due to the law of averages? Every textbook on Statistics I've read says that the law of averages itself grows out of a misunderstanding of the law of large numbers -- that is, thinking that since the proportion of outcomes converges to a stable state in infinite time, the proportions must "balance each other out" in finite time. It seems more appropriate to make some sort of argument for the gambler's "hot streak" from binomial probability, saying that his success rate in a given session has a certain chance of happening during any given session, and increasing the number of sessions played increases the chances of *some session* displaying such a high rate of success. 13:55, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

Has nobody read Carl Jung's "Synchronicity" essay outlining his experiments on 'lucky guesses'? He showed that when the player was in an excited state at the beginning of the test and wanting to really guess the cards right, they did. When the test got 'boring' over time, their correct guesses went down dramatically. One man though guessed the cards correctly over 90% of the time...he was deemed 'psychic'. But what the point of the test showed is that the observer has an effect on the observed when they put their full attention on the object being observed. This has also been proven in quantum physics looking at wave/point dynamics of photons...when 'observed' (with attention on them) the photons act as points, when not observed they act as waves. To discount current quantum physics understanding in the discussion of 'superstition' is negligent as it does denigrate something that may be fully explainable in many instances from a quantum physics understanding, but may be called 'superstition' when this is not understood so therefore biased by those doing the labelling.Gnatbuzz (talk) 17:26, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

recent edit[edit]

I have not added new POV. I have not removed existing POV. The passage was a little repetetive, long and difficult to read. I have read it again a few times. I have not introduced spellings using unusual grammar. I hope there are not any typography mistakes this time. The phrase "Better safe than sorry" was taken from the internet, i have seen it somewhere else. One reference to urban legend was moved to "See also". It reads interesting, and related to superstition.
Erroneous Individual - this is a justification, and does not belong here. However it is possible to refer to a person, a research or a media giving such statements. This is already included (church statements).

Could you please explain what you mean by "Urban legends, which are not scientifically prooved (justification) are put into correlation(s) which do no exist in physical, visible reality." as I can't figure out what you mean by it. Regards, MartinRe 12:40, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

Fairly extensive revision for NPOV purposes[edit]

After months of kicking this article around and watching the debates, i took it upon myself to rewrite it for coherence of flow. I worked hard to not remove things that had been written, but i did delete redundancies that seem to have arisen from "many cooks" syndrome. Also, i broke the article apart into sections and made the rather radical choice <insert smiley here> to describe superstition and give examples of it is at the top of the article, and to move all of the debunkining and skeptical viewpoints which formerly had been at the head of the article down to the bottom. The debunking posture was so thoroughly embedded in the article that on a second pass-through, i realized that every one of the six external links was to a skeptical or debunking web site. There were NO links to sites where people could actually go to study about superstitions, only links to places where people could go read about how stupid, dumb, bad, or unscientific they are. This biased writing shocked me a lot. I used google to find six sites on superstitions that have a folkloric and educational viewpoint; i could have found three dozen more. And i maY DO SO.

That cat sure looks gray to me. Couldn't you have at least moved the ugly junk in the background before taking it?

This entry is in English. Therefore it should be written from an English speaker's point of view--anything else violates the NPOV principle.

What if you were Chinese, living in China and you wanted to practice your English and learn about English-speaking culture? This article would be a disaster.

What if you were an American child doing a school project or paper on superstition and began your research here? Again, disaster. You'd fail because you would fail to address superstition withing the context of your assignment--your own culture.

Superstition is HUGE part of daily life in the English-speaking world. Many many many things we do, from which side of the raod we drive on, which hand we hold a fork in to the rules of ettiquette and polite interaction with everyone you come into contact with. What do YOU say when someone sneezes? Why? Superstition. And on and on.

This article and its current presentation violates the NPOV principle: It is an attack on English and American culture. It is not even subtle.

This article should be changed as soon as possible to eliminate this bias.

Psychological discussion?[edit]

Superstition is actually a rather interesting area of study in psychology and sociology with some important names who have investigated it (e.g. Skinner). This article avoids discussing any of the serious aspects of it instead providing a very brief definition and then citing lots of random examples and comparisons. Might I suggest refocusing the article toward the formal studies of the subject and have the existing content support that discussion?.

An impossible article[edit]

I have no intention of getting involved in this article; I simply wanted to state my opinion (after stumbling across it) that it is one of the worst Wikipedia articles I have read. It opens with random listings of "superstitions," and only after several pages gets to a semi-substantive yet entirely unsourced discussion of the topic. Whatever happened to the old definition: superstition is the other guy's religion? Out of curiosity I looked up the Encyclopedia Britannica article on the topic, which in this case is infinitely better than what Wikipedia has so far produced. It opens with the very sensible observation about "superstition": "An ambiguous word, it probably cannot be used except subjectively." In other words, the entire effort to write a NPOV article about "superstition" is doomed to failure, unless you begin from the principle that using the word "superstition" is in and of itself an attack (a slur) on someone else's closely held beliefs. What else needs to be said? Just my own POV... my sincere apologies if I have offended anyone who has spent time on the article... But I suspect that few of you are regular 'wikipedians,' given that almost none have bothered to sign your comments.... --Potosino 03:58, 1 July 2007 (UTC)

I agree about the lack of organization, and have moved the listings on the bottom. As for the information and the style of writing, I haven't read the bulk of this stuff, so feel free to copyedit and re-write if need be. As they tell you on this site - be bold.--Gilabrand 06:37, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
I tend to agree with Potosino. The article starts with a faulty definition (are people who expect their prayers to be fulfilled superstitious?). Lists of superstitions do not really help. Only the Skinner paragraph is fine. But what about anthropology, what about the fact that there's a system? (Fishermen, hunters, sportspeople are superstitious, while farmers are not.) Anyway: I marked the article with a cleanup tag. GregorB 21:26, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

I agree with Potosino, this is such a big undertaking. This article for starters at least should have the language cleaned up even if you don't add facts or change information. Right now the tone is so casual it really fails to be considered quality for an encyclopedic entry. Maybe if someone takes this small step it will help others be able to lend a further support. Right now though, I'm off to bed. 03:18, 23 October 2007 (UTC)Forcefieldmaker87

I'm not convinced that it's impossible. C. S. Lewis talks about magic and superstition as "failed science"; a belief that rubbing a toad on a wart will remove it is "magic" because it doesn't work. "Superstition" is slightly more subtle since it involves "luck" which is much more subjective; if you believe that breaking a mirror causes bad luck, this may be a self-fulfulling prophecy. Although folk religion has its share of superstitions, religious texts themselves mostly work at a different level and don't tend to contain these kind of "if you do X, Y will happen" statements that characterise superstitious beliefs. Unfortunately "superstition" is often thrown around so loosely that these distinctions are lost. That's not a reason for not trying though. Pdch (talk) 20:39, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
Hooray for Potosino. Not that it's impossible to do, but that as it stands, this article is impossible. The semantic function of the word is left unexamined, when clearly it is pejorative, used by a speaker to discredit another more than describe. There may be a superficial consistency among the things called a "superstition" by a society, and this phenomenon may be worth study. The word, however, is clearly a word of derision, not description, and to define it here as an objective category is falsely conceived, and as Potosino says, unworthy.
But why has this not be dealt with in the half decade since his remarks? This article screams out for radical revision. A first good step would be simple deletion, until a smarter approach is adopted. The Dutch article, noted below, may be a worthy stop-gap. ABS (talk) 21:48, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
We need to treat a topic in a neutral way; this is one of the pillars of the project. Defining superstition only in terms of "[t]he semantic function is clearly pejorative…a word of derision" seems not to be an objective treatment. Cultural anthropology (as a quick example arrived at without engaging any deep consideration) would be a field where "derision" would be inappropriate. As the semantic function remains "unexamined" in the article, a good first step would be to find some reliable sources and fix the deficiency. Your "simple deletion" solution would probably be treated as simple vandalism. --Old Moonraker (talk) 07:38, 14 July 2012 (UTC)


Superstitions are as bad as believing in Horoscopes or eight-armed gods. Enough said. If you need further explanation to understand the reasoning behind my statement, then you better get your head checked to see if there is a brain in there. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:44, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

Now rephrase that so it's NPOV, and provide a secondary source. Leushenko (talk) 04:13, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

Superstitions Reasonable[edit]

I think some superstitions can be based on reason. If you believe bad spirits cause disease, and also believe bad spirits are afraid of garlic, then putting garlic on a sick person is reasonable. Today we know germs cause disease, and are killed by mold. Some superstitions start when someone incorrectly observes a cause and effect. For example, I win when wearing my "lucky" shoes. Maybe it is a superstition to believe, certain shoes will make you play better, not because of luck, but "science." anyway, it seems to me, that most people use the word to describe a practice they don't believe in, although some call practices they believe in superstitions, so a definition could be beliefs about luck, though that is not the only definition. Rds865 (talk) 03:18, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

There are two potential debates here:
  1. Are certain beliefs and practises "superstition", or are they (to the contrary) reasonable/sensible?
  2. Can superstitions be reasonable? (i.e. based on reason?)
There's an important difference: the first uses the traditional meaning and connotations of "superstition"; the second talks about redefining the word;. The term "superstition" has had strong pejorative connotations since its early usage, and if people are now trying to use the word to describe behaviour they regard as reasonable and rational, then they're effectively reclaiming the word, much as lesbians have reclaimed the previously pejorative term "dyke". Taking a negative term and reinterpreting it in a positive light.
I can see there is a certain element of this happening with the word "superstition"; perhaps you'd like to draft some explanation of this in the article? Fuzzypeg 22:46, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
all forms of superstition have some kind of reason behind it, syaing that superstion is not based on reason is flawed. rather the reason used in making superstition is cause and effect, and the mechanics behind it are not fully understood... Something like that. (talk) 15:12, 1 November 2010 (UTC)SPaceout


An IP poster is deleting sourced material and replacing it with unsourced (which may or may not be correct) thus leaving the original footnote no longer supporting the material. Should I delete the source (bad), delete the unsourced material, or risk further edit skirmishing by recasting the text so that it reflects the source and adding a {{fact}} request to the unsourced stuff? I prefer the last option, but I am trying to preclude any further skirmishing. --Old Moonraker (talk) 08:26, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

The above was too hasty: I will separate the material so that the different sources (the new material does now have a source) are reflected in separate pieces of text. --Old Moonraker (talk) 08:32, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
Done. --Old Moonraker (talk) 08:40, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
Skirmishing? I was just surprised to see users revert to incorrect material. For further information on a Roman superstitio see Religions of Rome by Beard, North, and Price, pp. 216-217. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:53, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
Checked Beard, North, and Price on the suggested pages: it offers no etymology for superstitio, although a contemporary dictionary definition of "religio" is noted. Its burden is a comparison between "superstitio" and "religio". There may be material there for Superstition#Superstition and religion, lower down the page, if anybody feels like inserting it. --Old Moonraker (talk) 14:33, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

More Stuff[edit]

In France (and, I believe, in Spain and Italy) actors believe the color green on stage brings bad luck. Similarly for ropes on stage ("the hangman terror"). They don't say "bonne chance" (="good luck") but "merde" (="shit"). This last use has become common in all circumstances (e.g. exams, trips, etc...). It is in fact the only instance in which the word "merde" in French is likely not to offend anybody.

Rabbits are banned on boats. They're believed to bring in bad luck. This folklore is most likely related to real events. Ancient sailors would bring on board easy-to-care-for live animals such as rabbits, which facilitated the proliferation of certain diseases. a superstiton is a fear or a belive so strong that you belive it is real and it exists but it is just in you'r mind

Btw, the "don't set your hat on your bed" superstition claimed by the article to be commonly believed in South Carolina, is also widespread in France. As well as exiting one's house through the main bedroom window. It's said to also bring bad luck. Definitely, this is true when the bedroom is upstairs, and the bad luck ensuing is immediate.

There are many, many more examples, of course, but the above two are specific enough to be added to the article. Especially since the color green seems to also have a bad reputation among anglophone actors.

Superstition[edit] (talk) 02:56, 6 November 2008 (UTC)Bob Frapple

"Many extant superstitions are said to have originated during the plagues that swept through Europe. According to legend, during the time of a plague, Saint Gregory I the Great ordered that people say "God bless you" when somebody sneezed, to prevent the spread of the disease" -> Should this be in the intro? Feels a bit specific... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:34, 11 January 2009 (UTC) it is what is the people believe and how evety society are diffrent


--Cameramaster (talk) 15:26, 19 February 2009 (UTC)I think a very simple definition of superstition would be " A belief in something that has no rational basis for belief and cannot be Substantiated by any means", this would also cover any religion as well.

The Ghost of Evangelene Skiddleton.

Evangelene Skiddleton lived in Moredock Hall in the West Midlands. Her and her family disappeared and Evangelene was only 9 at the time. We do not know much about the Skiddleton family, this information has been gathered from descendants of this family. Many people have seen sightings of Evangelene wearing a white dressing gown and she is completely alone. She had cherry lips and blonde hair. If you ever have a sighting of her, DO NOT MOVE under any circumstances, as she may approach. Evangelene has been sighted in Uttoxeter, Ashley, Aston and Hilderstone.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:48, 17 April 2009 (UTC) 


Speaking of unexplained phenomenon: odd that there are no archives or talk prior to 2008. Just a lot of random commentary so I've removed the article level tags, made a few neutral adjustments to lede, moved some stuff from it to the 1st § and put in global context. Lycurgus (talk) 09:32, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

Inconsistent spelling[edit]

It seems to me that the spelling in this article is inconsistent: "labeled" and "modeled" are spelled according to American usage, whereas "behaviour" is spelt the way British writers would write it. Frankly speaking (talk) 06:04, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Dutch version of this article[edit]

Is there anything like the Dutch version of this article on the English Wikipedia?

Google translate gives the following translation of the contents (roughly corrected):

  • 1 Ambiguous concept
  • 2 Superstition and religion
  • 3 Popular superstition
  • 3.1 Unlucky number 13
  • 3.2 Horseshoes
  • 3.3 Umbrellas
  • 3.4 The clover
  • 3.5 Mirrors
  • 3.6 Knocking on wood
  • 3.7 Ladders
  • 3.8 Salt
  • 3.9 Birth and neonatal
  • 3.10 Solar eclipses
  • 4 Superstitions about animals
  • 4.1 Cat
  • 4.2 Leech
  • 4.3 Magpie
  • 4.4 Mol
  • 4.5 Horse
  • 4.6 Spider
  • 4.7 Bat
  • 4.8 Reptiles and amphibians
  • 5 Superstitions around plants
  • 5.1 The tree of life
  • 5.2 Linden
  • 5.3 The willow
  • 5.4 Kruidenwis
  • 5.5 The mistletoe
  • 5.6 Witch circle
  • 5.7 Elder
  • 6 Superstition on the calendar
  • 6.1 Superstitions associated with weekdays
  • 6.1.1 Sunday
  • 6.1.2 Monday
  • 6.1.3 Tuesday
  • 6.1.4 Wednesday
  • 6.1.5 Thursday
  • 6.1.6 Saturday
  • 6.2 Annual accident days
  • 7 Luck and accident
  • 7.1 Acts, objects and events that would bring misfortune
  • 7.2 Acts, objects and events that would bring happiness
  • 8 Other superstitious alphabetically

I have not been able to find this here. If it doesn't exist, is there a reason for it? Wiki-uk (talk) 17:50, 9 December 2009 (UTC)


The section on Superstition and Religion needs to have some additional examples of religious beliefs that could be regarded as superstitions. Some good examples can be found at: this website. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:06, 3 October 2010 (UTC)

Hi I AM Not A Fisic Edit BUt I Can Hel]p . Hold ON. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:13, 6 October 2010 (UTC)


Examples O f SUper Stition.? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:16, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

Isnt The Clay HamsA A Chines Luck OBject. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:27, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

Caste system in India[edit]

Considering a revert, as off-topic, of a recent edit introducing the Caste system in India as a link. Views? --Old Moonraker (talk) 21:47, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

This is about the following title:
Russell, R. V., The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India (four vols.). London (1916).
This is not only about the caste system in India, but about the culture of numerous tribes in central India. When searching for "superstit" in the contents of the different volumes, it appears that many superstitions in Indian culture are described and explained here. This is why I added it here. Wiki-uk (talk) 14:13, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation. I was thinking about Wikipedia:Further reading#Topical: "A large part, if not all, of the work should be directly about the subject of the article". --Old Moonraker (talk) 15:21, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Gender and superstitions[edit]

It seems to me that many agree that women are usually more superstitious than man. Any thoughts on that? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ilya-42 (talkcontribs) 10:05, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Original research is not allowed (consider that I could say "It seems to me that many agree that men are usually more superstitious than women", just as easily). If you want to add something to the article, make sure you have a reliable source first. GManNickG (talk) 10:24, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

I believe this article needs to reference the gamblers falacy more. Both the gamblers falacy and superstition give people a false sense of control. For furthur reading, refer to The Science of Fear by Gardner. Schmidsa (talk) 21:23, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

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Change of definition has been undone[edit]

The definition

"Superstition is a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing, circumstance, occurrence, proceeding, or the like[1]."

has been removed form the article, as it is unprecise and not fully encompassing, as is the definition it was meant to replace.

Imprecise meaning, that it does not allow an impartial judgement of whether a specific belief falls under the defintion, as does the definition is was meant to replace. Also it does not encompas all believes that must be regarded as superstition as it narrows it down to only beliefs in ominous consequenses. Superstition can just as well be (and often is) a belief in desired consequences.

The removed definition can as best be seen as an examplification of the general definition.

The removed definition seems to be have been put in solely because the person who did the edit found it in some online dictionary, and not because of any specific arguments for its superiority. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:12, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

"Found it in some online dictionary": the online dictionary entry in question is claimed to be © 2012, whereas the material first appeared here in 1997. The external site may possibly be mirroring Wikipedia content. The deleted definition—"a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing…"—had the benefit of simplicity and clarity. I suggest keeping the new definition, but without supplanting the old one. --Old Moonraker (talk) 06:39, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
The current definition is POV and needs replacing. There are clearly 2 viewpoints here. First there are atheists who would call all religious belief "superstition" and that is the thrust of the definition here. The second is the traditional and rather more specific definition that it refers to "excessive" or "irrational" belief in the supernatural, especially in bringing good or bad luck: lucky horseshoes being an example. That is a much more widely held understanding, even by those of religious persuasions. The second definition is reflected in the Oxford Dictionary of English which gives "superstition" as "excessively credulous belief in and reverence for the supernatural: he dismissed the ghost stories as mere superstition and "a superstition" as "widely held but irrational belief in supernatural influences, especially as leading to good or bad luck, or a practice based on such a belief: she touched her locket for luck...". I propose we build the definition around something like that which is more neutral and backed by a responsible, international source.[1] --Bermicourt (talk) 15:51, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
  1. ^ Soanes, Catherine and Stevenson, Angus (ed.) (2005). Oxford Dictionary of English, 2nd Ed., revised, Oxford University Press, Oxford, New York, ISBN 978-0-19-861057-1. The ODE uses an international database and a team of experts from across the English-speaking world.

Review needed[edit]

This article defines superstition as belief in any kind of supernatural causation whatsoever, making no distinction between different kinds or the possibility of any rational philosophical discourse in defense of the supernatural as compatible with natural science, thus begging the question. It asserts, as if it were a brute fact, the quite controversial view that superstition and any form of super-naturalism in metaphysics are interchangeable conceptions, and as a source for this, it cites a (probably controversial) book on psychology -- not on metaphysics -- written as late as the year 2000. This deals with the fact that people hold metaphysical views that the writer(s) happen to disagree with by explaining the beliefs away in terms of cause and effect while rhetorically dismissing the possibility of their having valid logical and/or sound experiential grounds. This is the ad hominem fallacy because it attempts to disprove an idea on the basis of what psychological events caused it within the brain rather than on it's logical grounds or lack thereof.

It does not even mention St. Paul's use of the term "superstitious" in Acts 17. It does not mention the long and rich history of quite rational disputations by philosophers on divine or supernatural matters or on the possibility of the super-natural. It is, on the whole, a pile of fallacious, condescending, one-sided epic fail. --BenMcLean (talk) 22:16, 7 March 2013 (UTC)

This article is still awful, as several people have pointed out. "Superstition" does not seem to have any simply descriptive use; it would seem always to be used pejoratively. If the article cannot deal with such metaquestions about the semantics of the word, it shouldn't be on W. And so on. As I've said before, W. would be better simply lacking this an article on the topic rather than having this article. ABS (talk) 01:02, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
I am not familiar with Wikipedia's procedures for dealing with such situations. Should we perhaps be trying to initiate a vote to simply delete the whole thing? --BenMcLean (talk) 19:20, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
It might be better to just redirect to Superstition_(song). That's what most people are probably looking for anyway. --BenMcLean (talk) 19:23, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
What method would you suggest for differentiating between different supernatural beliefs? thx1138 (talk) 19:24, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
Various philosophers have talked about this. One quote that springs to mind is from C. S. Lewis: "You may attribute miracles to [God], but not nonsense." from Miracles (book), which is a must-read for understanding what is meant by the idea of supernatural causation. --BenMcLean (talk) 05:06, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Superstition/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Standardization of references, and more of them, would definitely help. John Carter 00:41, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

Last edited at 00:41, 12 July 2007 (UTC). Substituted at 07:21, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

Opening sentence is a mess[edit]

As I write this the opening sentence reads:

Superstition is the belief in supernatural causality—that one event causes another without any natural process linking the two events—such as astrology and religions, like omens, witchcraft, and prophecies, that contradict natural science.

Between the passage set off with hyphens, the use of "like" and then "that" - how are you supposed to read this? I think this got this way kind of accidentally in a long series of small edits. But there have been a bunch of back-and-forth edits and reverts so rather than make it worse I thought I'd start a discussion. --Krelnik (talk) 20:24, 20 February 2017 (UTC)

Don't accuse religion or prophecy as all being superstitious.[edit]

I don't want religion generally called superstition. Supernatural beings like angels are true. God exists. Otherwise we wouldn't have easter or Christmas. So please removed prophecy from superstition page. It really hurts to see damaging lying comments about God's word - The Holy Bible — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:43, 22 April 2017 (UTC)

You need to realize that, as a global encyclopedia, editors and readers on Wikipedia will have a wide variety of religious views(or even none at all), most of which are probably different from yours. As such, it is important for articles to have a neutral point of view towards all subjects. If you disagree with the wording you cite, please explain why and cite any evidence you have on this page, instead of edit warring and making legal threats, both of which will only get you blocked. 331dot (talk) 09:46, 22 April 2017 (UTC)
Calling religion and prophecy superstition is biased and breaches neutral point of view. So please remove supernatural and religion from superstitious references cause it's not being impartial. Kind regards — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:49, 22 April 2017 (UTC)
You'll have to say more than that. Your belief in God isn't sufficient to make such a change. As I stated, others disagree. You will need to cite any evidence you have of your position that is verifiable and work to achieve consensus for changes you want to see. 331dot (talk) 09:53, 22 April 2017 (UTC)
If Wikipedia maintains a neutral point of view that means they should remove prophecy from superstition — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:43, 22 April 2017 (UTC)
I understand that is your position, but you need to demonstrate why that is. Your personal views are not sufficient, as every Wikipedia user has their own views. What matters is what independent reliable sources state. 331dot (talk) 11:28, 22 April 2017 (UTC)

Catholics dislike superstition, too![edit]

I haven't had time to dig through this flaming pile of crap in detail, but the opening definition certainly makes this look like a New Atheist circlejerk rather than an article addressing the concept of superstition from a position that all rational people would agree upon.

I'll take my own religion, for instance, Catholicism. Yeah, an old guy in a funny hat is considered to be unable to teach error regarding matters of faith and morality pertaining to the entire Catholic Church, and we do believe that a piece of bread and a cup of wine can become real human flesh and blood. And to a modern, Western, "scientific" atheist that makes no friggin' sense. And to this super-duper super-atheist (to parody an old WWII song), that seems like superstition.

However, within my own religion, we don't see any contradiction between the biological fact that a man is mortal and the theological fact that he might also have infallibility. The Miracle at Fatima does not at all contradict our orbit around the sun. You can understand it in a way where they do contradict - as atheists often choose to - but there is nothing ipso facto contradictory about the scientific method allowing for exceptions to the normal pattern of things. Miracles are not contradictions of the laws of nature - because the laws of nature are like the laws of the United States: they can have exceptions, even exceptions purposefully built into the law and given official recognition. If, as Catholics believe, God made the laws of nature, He can make exceptions to them. An atheist may call that breaking the laws of nature, but that is because the atheist does not recognise any author of these laws, believing a consistent body of intelligible patterns needs no intelligent explanation. But that's just me.

And if my own appeal from my own religion - the spiritual home of about 1.5 billion souls - doesn't make a mark, consider the atheists' situation: only about 3% of the world is explicitly atheistic, and most of the West still believes in a God or life force, and most of Africa and Asia certainly believe in God or gods. The atheists who cobbled this piece of junk together either have to believe that it is of binding importance that people believe there is no evidence for God - which I find very ironic[1] - or they have to be radically ignorant of how small an audience he is playing to. Or they may simply not know that Wikipedia is supposed to either harmonise or neutralise all the differing and contradictory worldviews. And on the topic of superstition, there are more views than that of Richard Dawkins. Chargee (talk) 15:51, 19 May 2017 (UTC)

This is not a forum for your personal beliefs and personal attacks. Objective3000 (talk) 16:42, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
Thank you for taking the time to read through what I've had to say - and for reading the position of Wikipedia on neutrality. Which is basically: they don't take sides. They try to lay out the cut and dried facts without any flavour to them. This article is so salty, savage, and bitter that it doesn't belong on Wikipedia in its current form. That, and I've no doubt at least some things here are not "facts", however you look at them. The bit about Spinoza inventing exegesis is one example.Chargee (talk) 20:07, 19 May 2017 (UTC)


List of superstitions[edit]

I noticed that List of superstitions inappropriately redirected here. I have stubbed it, those interested are invited to contribute. Happy editing, Paradoctor (talk) 08:52, 21 June 2017 (UTC)