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5 years ago  ::  Jul 20, 2009 - 1:46PM #1
Suezlu
Posts: 119

Solar eclipse pits superstition against science


A recent article from AFP  mentions that the Wednesday solar eclipse has superstitions vs. science.  Interesting article and it has a vast amount not information.  There are doomsday predictions about wars, political assassinations, and raise in violence.  There is that that it is the soothsayers and astrologers are using this to cash in on for their own personal business. Same article states that is a powerful time to worship since the two opposite forces are very powerful.  Science is only trying to educate people in the scientific way that is only an natural phenomena and that is all.


Well, if it something like the full moon seems to make ERs fill up more than other days (holidays come close on this one) the watch out ERs this might be the BIG ONE.


I don't mean to joke about this but the forces I see here are the forces of faith vs. science which in my book are not exact.  There are somethings in faith that you believe in regardless if you can see it, feel it, taste it, or hear it and science has many theories that sometimes are tested to become fact. But both rely on "what ifs".  So why the constant fight? 


 


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Moderator added link to story.


 

Moderated by Stardove on Jul 20, 2009 - 07:58PM
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5 years ago  ::  Jul 20, 2009 - 2:06PM #2
Merope
Posts: 10,960

This will be the longest total solar eclipse of this century.  Story here.


NASA says the path of the moon's umbral shadow will begin in India and cross through Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and China before curving south across the Pacific Ocean.  It will be visible in Hawai'i as a partial eclipse.


One city in China will be going on red alert during eclipse hours because the city will be in darkness during that time.


 

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5 years ago  ::  Jul 20, 2009 - 2:18PM #3
Suezlu
Posts: 119

Very interesting.  That is science but what about anyone's belief? Did you know that there is a trip to see the sunny side of the eclipse from a travel company in India or Nepal for those who would rather have the positive side of the eclipse?  I suppose that would be interesting.  I also learned that women in India (possibly not all) will try to not have their children be born during an eclipse due to the negativity of the moment.  China also have superstitions with eclipses.  Are there any others.

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5 years ago  ::  Jul 21, 2009 - 1:15PM #4
Merope
Posts: 10,960

Jul 20, 2009 -- 2:18PM, Suezlu wrote:

Very interesting.  That is science but what about anyone's belief? Did you know that there is a trip to see the sunny side of the eclipse from a travel company in India or Nepal for those who would rather have the positive side of the eclipse?  I suppose that would be interesting.  I also learned that women in India (possibly not all) will try to not have their children be born during an eclipse due to the negativity of the moment.  China also have superstitions with eclipses.  Are there any others.



Eclipses are very significant in Hinduism.  By extension, this eclipse is huge in India.


According to this article, Hindu temples are closed during an eclipse.  Moreover, before an eclipse, Hindus fast, take a ritual bath in the Ganges or in holy lakes and rivers, and chant a special mantra to ward off evil.  Because of that, the district administration of Kurukshetra in India announced before the eclipse that it will provide insurance for up to a million ritual bathers in Brahma Sarovar, a particularly holy lake.  Officials in Varanasi and Allahabad where other holy sites for Hindus are located  are also gearing up for the influx of eclipse bathers.  In some other cities, on the other hand, local authorities are making public announcements to fight superstition.


And, yes, folks are traveling thousands of miles to India and China to be in the narrow band across the globe where the sun will be completely covered by the moon.  Some folks have chartered a jet that will follow the path of the eclipse from Delhi, flying over any monsoon clouds.  A seat costs 79,000 rupees (almost $1,650). 


In India, express trains to the towns that fall within the band of totality are all sold out, as are hotels.


Again in India -- and with a nod to history -- thousands of Indians are traveling to Taregna, a dusty village where, in the 6th century, Arya Bhata (the most famous Indian astronomer of ancient times) supposedly undertook his celestial observations. (Arya Bhata is often credited with the invention of zero; what is certain is that he was among the few ancient astronomers who made detailed and accurate eclipse projections.)


So some of this is just interest; some of it is faith-based tourism located in legitimate religious faith and belief.


Conjunctions of light and dark with notions of good and evil are found in most of the world's religions.  Shoot, the date of Jesus' birth in Christianity (where, mostly, Jesus = God) was set to coincide (more or less) with the winter solstice -- celebrating the lengthening of days, the "return of the sun," and concomitant notions of the victory of good over evil.

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5 years ago  ::  Jul 27, 2009 - 4:38AM #5
Merope
Posts: 10,960

This thread was moved from the Hot Topics Zone.


Note that while a relaxed (site-wide) ROC standard applied to the discussion on that forum, the tighter forum ROCs -- and all local guidelines for this forum -- apply to discussion from this point forward.



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5 years ago  ::  Jul 27, 2009 - 2:11PM #6
McAtheist
Posts: 8,365

I can understand how superstitons would get started about solar eclipses --- it is a pretty scary notion that we could lose the sun permanently.  It is interesting that these superstitions persist now that we have such a better understanding of what the eclipse is --- of course, all you have to do to see that we aren't really that far removed from the darker ages is have the power go off in New York or LA for a couple of nights!


Thanks for the informative articles!

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