Impact of Superstition

Ahh... harmless superstition.
What harm can a fortune cookie do?
What harm can reading the daily horoscope bring?

Is superstitions really harmless? On the face of it, it does seems that little things like fortune cookies, horoscope predictions and a divination lot from the temple can do no harm. But the truth is deeper.

Religion. Superstition. Pseudoscience.
This trio bring more harm than what most people can see.

There are two simple reasons to reject them:

  1. They are not based on evidence and are inherently illogical and/or irrational
  2. They are directly or indirectly harmful.
Take homeopathic remedies for example. Homeopathic remedies do not contain any active ingredients. They are so diluted that they are in effect just water. However, they sometimes do appear to work because of the placebo effect. Sure, they can "cure" colds and coughs.

But when it comes to ailments and diseases such as diabetes and cancer, they are completely useless. If a patient were to give up conventional treatment in favor of homeopathy, his/her condition will worsen and, if left untreated, eventually lead to death.

If the public is informed well beforehand about the impotency of homeopathic remedies, they would be less likely to make uninformed decisions. This would not only increase the chances of survival but also save the unnecessary cost of consulting a homeopath.

The same applies to pseudoscience. An example which comes to mind is crystal healing. Crystal healers claim that crystal "emits healing waves" that can "synchronize your inner energy" and "heal" you of your ailments. By importing scientific jargons, these quacks has successfully fooled the public and conned them of their money.

Again, time wasted and money lost unnecessarily.

Religion does the same. It claims to know the truth when its own foundation is based, not on evidence, but on faith. Apparently, for the religious, believing something is true is sufficient to make it true.

Of course, religion make claims on many things. Of which, some of them can have very destructive effects. For example:
  1. Abandoning treatment in favor of faith/miracle healing
  2. Rejecting blood transfusion (Jehovah's Witnesses)
  3. Fighting, killing and dying for god(s) (AKA non-existent entities), etc
There is no need to go further. This short list alone is sufficient to directly or indirectly lead to the deaths of many.

When this trio is critically analyzed, you would realize that they have no legs to stand on.
Their reasoning is poor.
Their logic is flawed.
Their evidence, non-existent.

Everyday, many fall victim to superstition and pseudoscience.
Time is lost. Money is wasted. Sometimes, lives are taken.

The police can never weed out all the criminals but should work to keep their numbers as low as possible. In the same way, we can never remove superstition and pseudoscience completely. But, we should equip ourselves with the knowledge necessary to make well-informed decisions. Scientists should actively educate the public and denounce such blatant lies before they spread to those who less informed. In time, less would fall victim to the quacks who are out to con (whether deliberately or "accidentally").

I hope to live to see the religions of today become mythology.
I hope to live to see superstition and pseudosciences become the butt joke of the 21th century.
I hope to live to see religion, superstition and pseudoscience lose their foothold and fade into shadows of the past forever.